Tracks

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Tracks commercially released: November 9, 1998 / 18 Tracks commercially released: April 12, 1999
Label: Columbia
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin*
Recorded by Toby Scott assisted by Greg Goldman and Thom Panunzio*
Mixed by Ed Thacker and Bob Clearmountain assisted by Thom Panunzio, Greg Goldman and Ross Petersen*
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Photography by Phil Ceccola, Joel Bernstein, James A. Davis, David Gahr, Annie Leibovitz, Fred Lombardi,
 Jim Merchese, Neal Preston, Herb Ritts and David Rose
Design by Harry Chorron and Sandra Choron

* see Brucebase session listings for the specific producers and engineers of the original recordings.

Overview

Tracks (Archival Release)

Following the completion of the solo acoustic The Ghost Of Tom Joad tour in May 1997 Springsteen kept a relatively low profile and spent the summer months in New Jersey with his family. He held a studio session in November 1997 (the first of what is now known as the Seeger Sessions) and also participated in songwriting sessions with Joe Grushecky in December 1997-January 1998. According to interview comments by Toby Scott, (Springsteen’s audio archivist and recording engineer), it was in February 1998, during solo sessions being conducted at Bruce’s NJ home studio, that Springsteen approached Scott and said “let's do the boxed set”. Scott then went to work gathering the potential material from Springsteen’s massive audio library (located, along with Sony's sound archives, in the high-tech Iron Mountain facility near Buffalo, NY). Bruce’s NJ home studio (Thrill Hill East) served as the main operational center for all Tracks project activities.

Springsteen mentioned in an early 1999 interview with journalist Patrick Humphries that 200 to 300 different songs (twelve to eighteen CDs worth) formed the large pool of recordings that he initially reviewed in the spring of 1998 as potential candidates for the boxed set. Over the course of the next few months the 200-300 was narrowed down. According to Toby Scott by late June then number was down to about 128 songs (eight CDs worth). It was then narrowed down yet again during July to about one hundred songs (a six-CD set). Although these one hundred songs were prepped for the Tracks release there was a commercial decision made later in the summer to reduce the size of the release to a four-CD (sixty six-track) package. The package was delivered to Sony in mid-September in order to facilitate the mid-November 1998 release schedule.

The primary intent of Tracks (at least insofar as it’s slimmed-down six-CD and four-CD incarnations were concerned) was to cover all of Springsteen's commercially released album sessions. However due to ongoing (and at the time still-unresolved) court proceedings involving most of Springsteen’s unreleased 1972 studio recordings, it was decided not to release any of that in-dispute session material on Tracks. Consequently unreleased songs from the Greetings album sessions, or other demo sessions from that period, were not released in the package. The four "Hammond" CBS demo session songs that are found in the box were utilized because that particular studio session and those particular songs were not part of the court proceedings. Postscript: these legal matters were finally resolved, in Springsteen's favour, in 2001 – thereby freeing up these recordings for release at any time. It is likely that a "Tracks, Vol 2" (i.e., another boxed set of similar scope), will be released sometime in the future.

After the release of 18 Tracks (read below), the combined Tracks collection consisted of 65 outtakes and two new recordings. Unable to locate the master tape for "Gave It A Name", Springsteen re-recorded the song on August 24, 1998 at his home studio in Colts Neck, NJ. He did the same for "The Promise" (see below). There are also several tracks that were "supplemented" with additional instrumentation by overdubbing ("Hearts of Stone" has new horns). The full extent of "modern" recording used on Tracks is unknown.

18 Tracks

Despite stellar reviews the initial sales of the Tracks boxed set were well below expectations, probably due to this pricey retrospective not being issued in the wake of a huge selling Springsteen album (as had been the case in 1986 when Live/1975-85 followed the Born In The USA album). Partly as a consequence of the slow sales it was decided in January 1999 to release an abbreviated single CD version of Tracks titled 18 Tracks. This was intended for the more casual fan, although 18 Tracks also served the purpose as a promotional tie-in for the E Street Band "Reunion" tour that was announced at the same time. 18 Tracks contained fifteen recordings already issued on Tracks, plus three previously unreleased recordings ("The Fever", "Trouble River" and "The Promise"). "The Promise", a Darkness on the Edge of Town outtake, best known for legendary live performances from August 1976 - July 1978, was included after howls of outrage from the faithful for leaving it off Tracks. Springsteen, still rejecting all studio takes recorded between June 1977 - January 1978, responded by re-recording it on February 9-12, 1999 at Boxwood Studios, at his home in Rumson, New Jersey.

Sales of 18 Tracks were also disappointing, although the Reunion tour that followed was a tremendous commercial success.

Released

# Song Title Running Time Release
1.1. MARY QUEEN OF ARKANSAS 3 4:28 GREETINGS / TRACKS
1.2. IT'S HARD TO BE A SAINT IN THE CITY 3 2:55 GREETINGS / TRACKS
1.3. GROWIN' UP 1 3 2:41 GREETINGS / TRACKS / ESSENTIAL / CHAPTER
1.4. DOES THIS BUS STOP AT 82ND STREET? 3 2:04 GREETINGS / TRACKS
1.5. BISHOP DANCED 2 4:21 TRACKS
1.6. SANTA ANA 4:37 TRACKS
1.7. SEASIDE BAR SONG 1 3:34 TRACKS
1.8. ZERO AND BLIND TERRY 5:58 TRACKS
1.9. LINDA LET ME BE THE ONE 4:27 TRACKS
1.10. THUNDERCRACK 8:29 TRACKS
1.11. RENDEZVOUS 1 2 2:51 1976 promo / TRACKS / PROMISE
1.12. GIVE THE GIRL A KISS 3:55 TRACKS
1.13. ICEMAN 3:19 TRACKS
1.14. BRING ON THE NIGHT 2:40 TRACKS
1.15. SO YOUNG AND IN LOVE 3:49 TRACKS
1.16. HEARTS OF STONE 1 4:32 TRACKS
1.17. DON'T LOOK BACK 3:00 TRACKS
# Song Title Running Time Release
2.1. RESTLESS NIGHTS 3:47 TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.2. A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND (PITTSBURGH) 3:18 TRACKS
2.3. ROULETTE 3:55 1988 single / TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.4. DOLLHOUSE 3:35 TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.5. WHERE THE BANDS ARE 1 3:46 TRACKS / 1999 b-side / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.6. LOOSE ENDS 1 4:04 TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.7. LIVING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD 4:19 TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.8. WAGES OF SIN 4:54 TRACKS
2.9. TAKE 'EM AS THEY COME 4:31 TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.10. BE TRUE 3:42 1981 b-side / 1981 b-side / TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.11. RICKY WANTS A MAN OF HER OWN 2:47 TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.12. I WANNA BE WITH YOU 1 3:23 TRACKS / 1999 single / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.13. MARY LOU 3:23 TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.14. STOLEN CAR 4:31 RIVER / TRACKS / RIVER: OUTTAKES
2.15. BORN IN THE U.S.A. 1 3:11 BITUSA / 1984 single / GREATEST / TRACKS / ESSENTIAL / CHAPTER
2.16. JOHNNY BYE-BYE 1:53 1984 b-side / TRACKS
2.17. SHUT OUT THE LIGHT 3:52 1984 b-side / TRACKS
# Song Title Running Time Release
3.1. CYNTHIA 4:15 TRACKS
3.2. MY LOVE WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN 1 4:27 TRACKS
3.3. THIS HARD LAND 4:50 GREATEST / TRACKS
3.4. FRANKIE 7:25 TRACKS
3.5. TV MOVIE 2:46 TRACKS
3.6. STAND ON IT 3:07 1985 b-side / TRACKS
3.7. LION'S DEN 1 2:19 TRACKS
3.8. CAR WASH 2:08 TRACKS
3.9. ROCKAWAY THE DAYS 4:44 TRACKS
3.10. BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGES ('83) 5:08 TRACKS
3.11. MAN AT THE TOP 3:24 TRACKS
3.12. PINK CADILLAC 1 3:37 1984 b-side / TRACKS
3.13. TWO FOR THE ROAD 2:00 1987 b-side / TRACKS
3.14. JANEY, DON'T YOU LOSE HEART 1 3:28 1985 b-side / TRACKS
3.15. WHEN YOU NEED ME 2:58 TRACKS
3.16. THE WISH 5:19 TRACKS
3.17. THE HONEYMOONERS 2:08 TRACKS
3.18. LUCKY MAN 3:18 1987 b-side / TRACKS
# Song Title Running Time Release
4.1. LEAVIN' TRAIN 4:07 TRACKS
4.2. SEVEN ANGELS 3:28 TRACKS
4.3. GAVE IT A NAME 2:51 TRACKS
4.4. SAD EYES 1 3:50 TRACKS / 1999 single
4.5. MY LOVER MAN 4:00 TRACKS
4.6. OVER THE RISE 2:40 TRACKS
4.7. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT 3:08 TRACKS
4.8. LOOSE CHANGE 4:22 TRACKS
4.9. TROUBLE IN PARADISE 4:43 TRACKS
4.10. HAPPY 4:54 TRACKS
4.11. PART MAN, PART MONKEY 1 4:31 1992 b-side / TRACKS
4.12. GOIN' CALI 3:04 TRACKS
4.13. BACK IN YOUR ARMS 4:43 TRACKS
4.14. BROTHERS UNDER THE BRIDGE 1 4:55 TRACKS

Total Running Time: 4:13:23

1: Issued on both Tracks and 18 Tracks.
2: Live in Concert.
3: Demo-version.

Additional Information

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